California Law Helps Ticket Motorists Parked In Bike Lanes

Anyone who has ridden in bike lanes has experienced the way drivers can ignore their existence. From having cars pass with two wheels in the bike lane to having to move into traffic to pass a car parked in the bike lane, the indignities are numerous. But one of those, cars parked in bike lanes, is about to improve.

California passed a law, AB 361, allows cities to equip city vehicles with cameras to ticket bike lane violations. Any city vehicle, from a parking enforcement scooter to a city bus can be equipped with a camera that will scan the road. That video is then fed into a mapping AI from Hayden AI that can then judge the position of parked vehicles and establish which are in violation.

The software is based on the same code behind the system that tickets bus lane violations.

Hayden AI’s chief growth officer, Charles Territo, said, “As long as we can see it, we can map it. And as long as we can map it, we can enforce it.”

Remarkably, catching bike lane violators isn’t just one part of a larger law. The whole of AB 361 was devoted to dealing with the issue of blocked bike lanes.

State Assembly member Chris Ward, of San Diego, frames the issue as one of cities being unable to reap the benefit of investing millions of dollars in cycling infrastructure if people are unable to use the bike lanes.

“How frustrating for cities when residents can’t use what’s been built because of blockage,” he said.

So far, three cities—San Francisco, San Jose and Santa Monica—have begun enforcement. Ward said that officials from the cities of Berkley, Oakland and Sacramento have told him they are considering enforcement. He has encouraged city council members in his home of San Diego, where he served as a city council member from 2016-2020, to begin enforcement.

Some cities have reported that personnel have been harrassed when writing paper tickets and the new law will eliminate the potential for conflict.

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